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Sunday 26 January 2020

Wickremesinghe to be next Sri Lanka Prime Minister on Sunday

President Maithripala Sirisena had replaced Ranil Wickremesinghe with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister on 26 October, plunging the country into an unprecedented crisis

Colombo: Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to take oath as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister on Sunday after disputed Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns on Saturday, signalling an end to the nearly two-month power tussle in the island nation.

President Maithripala Sirisena has reportedly agreed to reinstate ousted Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in the post after a discussion with him over the phone on Friday, Colombo Page reported.

Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) said that it was decided during the discussion that he will take oath as the Prime Minister at 10 AM on Sunday.

The President had removed Wickremesinghe from the post of Prime Minister on 26 October and appointed former president Rajapaksa as the premier, plunging the country into an unprecedented crisis.

Wickremesinghe refused to accept the sacking and challenged it in a court and in the Parliament.

The daily reported that a new Cabinet will be sworn in on Monday. The Cabinet will consist of 30 members and include six Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) parliamentarians, it said.

Rajapaksa’s son on Friday announced that the former strongman will resign on Saturday after two crucial Supreme Court decisions made the embattled leader’s efforts to cling to premiership untenable.

The apex court on Friday refused to stay a court order restraining Rajapaksa, 73, from holding the office of Prime Minister until it fully heard the case next month.

“To ensure the stability of the nation, Former President @PresRajapaksa has decided to resign from the Premiership tomorrow after an address to the nation,” Rajapaksa’s son Namal tweeted.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) with the former president, SLFP and others will “now work to form a broader political coalition with President Sirisena”, Namal, a lawmaker, added.

The apex court’s Friday ruling came a day after it unanimously declared that the dissolution of Parliament by President Sirisena was “illegal”.

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